Saturday, December 2, 2006

Sarkozy's "rupture tranquille"

I apologize to any French readers who saw this interview already, but here it goes. On the day he announced his candidacy, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy released an interview to several regional newspapers (apparently there was a politically motivated leak beforehand). In the interview, Sarkozy attempted to soften his image, adding the word "tranquille" to his "rupture" slogan. The appeal of his rival Segolene Royal is in part based on her charisma and focus on family, something Sarkozy is not known for. Despite the soft words, Sarkozy pulled no punches in how he thinks France needs to change:
"In a world which is moving so fast, who can think that we can afford to stay put? I want to get France moving again.
...
I want to break with the idea that one can work less and earn more.
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My ambition is to create a new relationship with the French based on two words: trust and respect."

The French should at least give him credit for his courage to confront globalization head on and address the tough economic problems facing France, whether or not they agree with his prognosis. The danger is that if elected he could have a Villepin moment, where his reform measures are stopped in their tracks by a populace frightened of change, job insecurity, etc. In the rest of the world's eyes, that would be "déjà vu all over again."

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